Byline: Words: Anne Richardson
We do love ourselves a bit of Ruth Jones. As the awesome Nessa in Gavin & Stacey, her ample bits shoehorned in to all that pleather (and getting jiggy with everyone from John Prescott to 'all eight members of Goldie Looking Chain'), she created one of the finest comedy characters of all time. Thus when we go to find out what's occurring (sorry, had to be done) with her today, we are very happy bunnies.
Ruth, as we know, lost a stack of weight - 4 stone, in fact - two years ago, and we wonder if she's kept it all off(shallow, we know). Part of us hopes she hasn't, because we can't help thinking (and co-star Rob Brydon agrees) she's lost too much weight to play Nessa now and We Want More Nessa (repeat to fade). But she is slimmer - never mind, there are always fat suits - and when we meet at a swanky hotel, she's hidden behind a mountain of pastries and cookies on the table in front of us, which she resists getting stuck in to (we don't, obviously).
Ruth, with a slap-free face, is more youthful looking than her 46 years. She's also clearly a very warm and friendly sort as she gets up to greet us. She's a size 14 at a guess and has curves in all the right places and an enviable cleavage (not that she's one for flashing flesh). In short, Ruth Jones looks bang tidy.
But she doesn't want to discuss this, even though we still have mince pie tummies from Christmas and would like some tips.
'I'm not talking about weight loss. I talked about it until the cows came home two years ago. Bored. To. Death.' Fair point, we shall stop with the shallow shizzle. Because there is a lot more to Ruth Jones than the size of her thighs. Unlike her character Stella, a single mum of three from the Welsh valleys who is involved in a love triangle and surrounded by a bizarre collection of friends and family, Ruth's situation is more simple. She's been with her husband, TV producer David Peet, for 20 years and they live in Cardiff(she also has three grown-up stepkids). The pair have worked on a host of TV projects together, including creating and writing Stella, so is it fair to say they are the Welsh Richard and Judy?
'Oh, David would love that because it makes me the older woman,' Ruth laughs. 'It's great, I love working with him. We're storylining the next series of Stella in our kitchen. He really makes me laugh. But it can get intense,' she admits. 'But we haven't had any rows, it hasn't gone to deadlock'
Going solo to create Stella was a big change for Ruth, after spending years writing Gavin & Stacey with her good friend James Corden. Following on from a show that won Comedy Awards and BAFTAs galore, Ruth felt the pressure.
'Absolutely,' she says. 'Ten million people watched the last Gavin & Stacey and only 1.5 million watch Stella, which is a really good viewing figure for Sky. But the response is nothing but positive and we've all been thrilled with it.'
There's no escaping Gavin & Stacey though and having classic lines shouted at her is a constant occurrence for Ruth. 'I had it the other night at the theatre,' she smiles. 'I pretended not to hear because I was a bit embarrassed, but it's a real compliment. We didn't set out and say, "Oh, let's create a catchphrase", it just happened. I've put, "What's occurring?" into Stella - it felt like a nice little nod.'
Will there ever be any more Gavin & Stacey?
Ruth gives a slight roll of the eyes, a sigh and a shrug. 'Will I ever win the Lottery? I don't know, but there are no plans to do any more. We'll be working on Stella for at least the next 18 months - series three and a Christmas special.' James Corden has been far too busy as well - having a baby, getting married, winning the Tony Award for the Broadway run of One Man, Two Guvnors and filming the lead role in the new Paul Potts movie. …